The best and worst of Mexico

articles Living, Working, Retiring

Marvin West

Westwords
Third among positives were beautiful women Dale Hoyt Palfrey, 2005
Third among positives were beautiful women –
Dale Hoyt Palfrey, 2005

There once was a questionnaire regarding what was best and worst about Mexico.

There was no available data about number of respondents or when or where the survey was conducted so I will concede it was unofficial and most likely unscientific. Just guessing that questions and answers were in English. Results were.

The timing was undoubtedly before competition in drug sales turned brutal. Fear of being beheaded was not among perceived problems.

The survey scene might have been the Lake Chapala region of Jalisco. Many Americans and Canadians are clustered there. Some have strong opinions about what Mexico should and should not be — for their greater convenience and enjoyment.

Even then, whenever then was, a few had the audacity to believe they could do a better job running the country. More of us are now convinced. Alas, it would involve raising taxes.

Wonderful winter weather was judged the single best thing about Mexico.

My first reaction was that Canooks and the Chicago crowd had stuffed the ballot box. But, then I remembered that favorable weather was our No. 1 retirement priority when we were choosing a winter home 14 years ago.

It is only fair to say that warm days with bright sunshine, songbirds chirping and flowers blooming are splendid tonic for the encroachment of age. Good weather is also good for creaky knees and stiff backs.

No need for anti-freeze, ice scrapers, snow tires or fuzzy gloves.

Mexico offers a variety in temp and humidity and places to find them, from sandy beaches to nippy mountaintops with many perfect plateaus and wide flatlands in between.

We generalize and say where we live offers golf-shirt weather year round. That is an exaggeration. Some December days call for a nylon windbreaker. It is a fact that our home has no heating or cooling system. We do have emergency equipment in a closet.

Compiled answers said the second best thing about Mexico was the food. Food was also listed among the worst things about Mexico. The ratio of favorable to unfavorable was about three to one.

I would not travel from far, far away for pozole. But I have gone out of my way for seafood Florentine at Bananas in Barra de Navidad and fresh salmon grilled lightly and sautéed in a wine sauce at Jose’s Place on the south side of the plaza in downtown Chapala.

Mexico is not famous for either dish.

Instead of Maya ruins or architecture in Guadalajara or ripe mangos at street markets, third among positives were beautiful women. Sarah says many Mexican women do have attractive facial features, ideal skin texture and lovely coloration. She also said she suspected that men dominated the survey.

Strangely enough, those Mexican beauties were mentioned among the disappointments, more specifically babes having babies and younger women allowing themselves to get old and dumpy.

Listed among the best features of Mexico, after friendly people, was cost of living, including low property taxes. Less government interference was voted a positive and lack of government services was judged a negative.

I do believe they are linked. If taxes are trivial, there aren’t so many government agents to trip you up or pick you up.

Friendly people, good neighbors, probably deserved more survey support. We live in a genuine Mexican neighborhood. Because our good friends speak almost as much English as we speak Spanish, some communications are limited to a simple greeting or maybe just a wave and a smile. Their kindness runs deep.

And, if you really need help, that’s what they do.

On down the list, among the worst things about Mexico, were topes and scorpions. Both groups are bad boys but if they are really “worsts,” it is a compliment to the country.

The mañana mentality took a hit. One critic, in favor of reorganizing the country, suggested a big clock on a pole at each street intersection “to help Mexicans learn to tell time.”

Punctuality is not a national strength.

Other grievances were the infamous mordida (police, government or service workers soliciting bribes), cobblestones, limited parking, motor homes and Hummers on narrow streets and petty foreigners.

I couldn’t believe somebody doodling with a questionnaire had looked in a mirror.

Published or Updated on: November 4, 2010 by Marvin West © 2010
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